How SFL Can Inform Writing Instruction: The Grammar of Expository Essays
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Systemic functional linguistics (SFL) offers useful tools for analyzing texts and identifying grammatical and lexical elements that are functional for achieving a particular text’s purposes. This article analyzes an English language learner’s expository essay, demonstrating how the tools of SFL can illuminate areas of difficulty and needed growth. Through textual, interpersonal, and ideational analyses, it identifies elements of the academic register that are functional for the essay writing task and examines how this particular student makes grammatical and lexical choices that approximate that register. The article provides a set of questions that teachers can ask students to use to analyze their own writing from a SFL perspective.